Fatima from an Eastern perspective

How do Eastern Catholics view this? I’m particulalry curious about the commands to wear the brown scapular, daily rosary, etc. since that stuff is typically considered “western.” I imagine that if I were to ever become so eastern I ended up changing rites I wouldn’t just throw out my scapular and rosary, the only reason being that Mary appears to have told us all (presumably not just Roman Catholics but eastern ones also) to do these things.
Any thoughts from eastern Catholics?

These are private devotions and as such all Catholics are free to participate in them.

There are many Eastern Catholics who pray the Rosary and wear the Brown Scapular.

I see no reason for you to have to give these up as private devotions. Any Catholic is free to use any approved devotion in the Universal Church.

A great question!

Although I was never a Latin Catholic, I came from a heavily Latinized background and only slowly moved spiritually toward a more Eastern Christian perspective.

So what can we make of the Fatima devotions from this perspective then?

I found there was no need to give up the rosary at all. Acquaintances of mine who were “echt-Eastern” :wink: were very much against the rosary.

However, I found that the same devotion i.e. 150 Hail Mary’s divided into decades has been around in Orthodoxy, especially Russian Orthodoxy, for many, many years. The great Russian saint (also recognized by Rome) St Seraphim of Sarov prayed the rosary/rule of the Mother of God daily and expected his spiritual children to pray it daily as well ("Staretz Zechariah: An Early Soviet Saint"chapter six).

He even taught that the rosary/psalter of our Lady was revealed to a monk of the Egyptian Thebaid in the eighth century and that all Christians once said it etc.

St Seraphim also said that, in a vision of the Mother of God, he was told by her that the rosary is THE most important prayer to obtain her intercession and protection over our lives - ahead of any other kind of Marian prayer.

The Old Believers of Russia have always had a “Theotokos Lestovka” with 150 small notches divided into decades by larger ones. I have one of these myself and the Old Believers teach that anyone who has prayed the rosary/rule with Hail Mary’s daily will be accompanied by the Most Holy Mother of God after death to each of the toll-houses our souls will visit . . .

So, from an unashamedly Eastern chauvinist point of view, our Lady at Fatima was simply reminding Western Catholics about her beloved Eastern rosary prayer . . .:slight_smile:

As for the scapular - this represents, first and foremost, the Holy Protection of the Mother of God which is a great devotion in the East (i.e. when the Mother of God extended her mantle of protection over people in various crises).

The West also has pictures of Our Lady of the Mantle (aka a form of Our Lady of Mercy).

But nothing like what the East has . . . :slight_smile:

Interestingly enough, there is an actual Orthodox icon of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in an Orthodox Ukrainian monastery in the town of Horodyshenske called the Mother of God of the Scapular (sic) and listed in Prof. Poselianin’s monumental work “Bogomater” or “the Mother of God” where he lists hundreds of miraculous and locally-venerated Orthodox icons and festivals.

The problem with Fatima from the Eastern point of view is not with its devotions, but with how Fatima was and is used by certain Catholic groups to convert/proselytise Orthodox. The phrase 'Russia will be converted" has been taken to mean by these “Fatimist” groups as meaning “converted to Roman Catholicism.”

I know an Orthodox priest who accepts Fatima and says that her prophecies have been fulfilled in Russia since the churches there are full and the Mother of God is highly, highly venerated (more than in the West).


An interesting follow up question would be, In what year did proselytizing the Orthodox become a no no ?

In the last 20 or 30 years or so when Rome took seriously its own estimation that Orthodoxy is a part of the Body of Christ, although in separation from Rome.

It was doubtless in the same period of time when Rome and her theologians decided that the Eastern Catholic model of church unity was no longer a viable/legitimate one which is why Rome refuses to acknowledge the patriarchate for the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church.

But we call our primate “patriarch” nevertheless.

Would you join us in so doing?


Until recently I actually thought he was a patriarch.

                          Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the Eastern Catholic Churches in Ukraine and Belarus have missions to the Orthodox as late as the 1930's ? Seems I heard that somewhere.

I believe Vatican II had recommended that proselytizing was wrong and stopped doing it. It was made official by both the Eastern Orthodox and Catholic Churches in June 1993 through the Balamand Declaration.

Note: The only reason why the head of the UGCC isn’t officially called a Patriarch by the RCC is due to fears that the title would only cause more worse relations with Russia, and division and hostility in the already complicated situation of the Churches of Ukraine. There is the Orthodox Kiev Patriarchate, the Orthodox Metropolitanate loyal to Moscow, another autocephalous Orthodox Church, and the Ukrainian Catholic Church. I don’t see any harm in him being called a Patriarch, as it seems as unlikely as ever that any of these 4 churches will unite anytime soon. :shrug:

I pray the Rosary and wear the scapular for precisely the reasons Dr. Roman mentioned in his post. I do try not to let the Rosary get in the way of my Akathist - I don’t think it does since I don’t pray either nearly as often as I should - and the scapular and chotki are worn on different parts of the body so no conflict there either.

It isn’t and we should be constantly striving to bring all into the fullness of unity with the whole (Catholic) Church. But to impose the Roman Rite on Russia would be absolutely wrong, and nor is it necessary that the fullness of communion be restored before we can say Russia is converted. Her conversion will not be full until they are in perfect communion with us - but what individual besides living saints are perfect until their death? - and the restoration of communion is certainly part of the fullness of the conversion that the Theotokos called them to, but she did not appear in order to call Russia to convert to Catholicism. She appeared in order to call Russia to conversion, period.

My point is that, at the time the Fatima message was given to the three children in Portugal, and for many decades afterwards, one of the objectives was the conversion of Russia to Catholicism. If that were not the case, then missionary efforts to the Orthodox would have ended alot earlier than the last 20-30 years.

You cant impose a Latin spirituality on people who were historically Byzantine. Now, personally as a Catholic I would like to see the Russian Orthodox convert to the Catholic Church, as Eastern Catholics'but then I guess what Im really saying here is I would like to see the reunion of the two Church`s as most of the rest of us do.

Alex, Im a Ruthenian Byzantine but would love to join you as referring to the Cardinal as Patriarch. I think its too bad for the sake of politics he won`t officially be give this title.

Actually I simply said Catholicism.

                            My point is that until fairly recently, the Fatima message was understood to be about the conversion of Russia to Catholicism, and not Orthodoxy. Only really since the fall of the Soviet Union has it become commonplace to attempt to twist the Fatima message into an ecumenical one. For some reason I think the Orthodox for the most part understand this more clearly.

Depends on how you define “fairly recently” but I will agree with you that many if not most viewed the conversion of Russia as being to Catholicism, but could they have gotten that wrong? Could they have misunderstood the private message?

After all, private messages are not infallible and are given through human beings who can misunderstand and get things a little bit wrong. Especially since this message was passed through children.

The message, if I am not mistaken, just speaks of the conversion of Russia, no where does it state that this conversion is to Catholicism. So some assumption was made.

Everything christianity claims to be truth, are nothing but lies, if you want the truth, this you must read:

Proselytism of the Orthodox is a contradiction of what Roman Catholicism itself has always believed about the Orthodox Church - that it is the True Church although separated from Rome.

Orthodoxy has the true Apostolic faith from earliest times (without the later Latin Catholic additions that it has always found unnecessary for its faith and praxis), true Sacraments, Orders etc.

At no time did Fatima’s revelations refer to “conversion” in terms of “converting to” this or that.

Given the tenor of Our Lady’s words with respect to praying for sinners, for the souls in purgatory, for penance, the Rosary and scapular etc. - she was clearly talking about conversion of heart toward God, as she does in ALL her revelations and appearances.

It is not now the policy of RCism to proselytise the Orthodox, although that does occur nevertheless. It would be better for Latin Catholics to study Orthodox theology and traditions to get a more informed view of Eastern Christianity - which is not “Roman Catholicism without the Pope, the Immaculate Conception and Purgatory.”

Also, Blessed Basil Velichkovsky and Blessed Nicholas Charnetsky, both Redemptorists who worked among the Orthodox in Volyn, western Ukraine, expressly forbade the use of “conversion” with respect to the Orthodox as a highly offensive, to them, term - it reminds them of when Roman Catholics used armed force to “convert them.”

Blessed Leonid Fyodorov, a Russian Catholic, once wrote about the great numbers of Russian Orthodox dying for Christ under the USSR - "And these are the people the Latins want to “convert . . .”


Once again, this is a 1965 at the earliest, interpretation of the Fatima message.

                              I will not deny that the idea of converting Russia to Catholicism is a very offensive idea to the Orthodox, but that is what the Catholic faithful prayed for throughout the 1950's, and which a small minority still prays for today. Some of the best arguments against Fatima being a message about the restoration of the Orthodox Church in Russia come from the Russian Orthhodox themselves.

Yes, this is all correct.

It simply means Roman Catholicism is overcoming its triumphalist perspectives, as it should.

The term “conversion” has to do with conversion from sinning to a life of religion and Fatimist groups have emphasized “conversion” in terms of moving from Orthodoxy to Roman Catholicism.

And that message comes from Roman Catholic groups, not from our Lady. Our Lady NEVER mentioned this, but talked about sinners, souls in purgatory, deeper piety etc.

Being Roman Catholic does not guarantee deeper piety. From what I see in North America, the Orthodox generally have a deeper piety, especially towards our Lady.

I am in support of Fatima and its message of conversion of heart and the conversion of atheist, communist Russia.

Her prophecies have come true and continue to come true in Orthodox Russia today.

Perhaps the Fatima groups could focus on the state of Catholicism in Europe and North America as that seems to require much more prayer and sacrifice - and true conversion of heart.


No, actually it’s not. Well before 1965, we were taught to pray for “the conversion of Russia” but the point was its conversion from communism to Christianity. The very idea of praying for its “conversion from Orthodoxy” is absurd; the only time I’ve ever heard of such a thing is from the ultra-right-wing of the RCC, and even that seems to have become more widespread after the fall of Soviet Union. While I may not be a big fan of the Moscow Patriarchate for a variety of reasons, never would I even think that it should be converted. How is it possible to convert Orthodoxy to orthodoxy?

The whole idea of “converting Christians” reminiscent of the misguided position of so many Protestant missionaries in the Middle East (and even India) who expended great effort to “convert” the native orthodox Christians (both upper-and-lower case “o”) to Protestant heterodoxy. Fortunately they met with minimal success (and those that “converted” did so mainly because of socio-economic & political reasons). Maybe those so-called missionaries should have spent a little of that effort on converting the heathens.

Not only middle east, they do this in predominantly Catholic countries like South America and the Philippines. My cousin here in Canada belongs to an Evangelical (Alliance) church and they frequently send missionaries to the Philippines which is already 80% Roman Catholic. And they’re not in the mountains and jungles evangelizing to the indigenous tribes. They’re in the cities proselytizing Catholics.

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